“Make sure you do not associate with the other people still remaining in the land. Do not even mention the names of their gods, much less swear by them or serve them or worship them. Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.” (Josh 23:7-8)
In this chapter, Joshua reminds the people of Israel of all His fulfilled promises and encourages them to keep away from the people in the land yet to be conquered and to serve only the Lord. He warns them that if they turn away from following the Lord, then just as He gave them the land, He will bring disaster on them just as quick and remove them from it. He also tells them it is soon he will die, so this is his last address to them.
Do you notice Joshua says not even to mention the names of their gods, let alone swear by them or worship them? Have you ever heard your parents warn you that when you get married, don’t even use the “D” word? They say don’t even joke about it! I asked my dad why not once, and you know what he said? Even saying it as a joke can sow it into your spouse’s heart and one day, when things do get tough, the word just may get used seriously, and followed through. You know, sin starts off as a joke. You start joking around, saying you’re gonna go to the pub and get “smashed,” beat ya mrs, or even joke around about having an affair! Then they turn from jokes to pondering thoughts, “well, I wonder what that would be like?” And you know the saying, “curiosity killed the cat-” curiosity got the better of Eve and the rest is history. Then, what you think of comes out of your mouth and leads to action. These jokes are seeds, for truly out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak, and as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. A man will eventually do what he thinks and says! So we must truly be careful as to how we think and say- even as a joke!
“Lord, I pray You would help me listen to what is really coming out of my mouth, even as a joke- and help me to change it. For You said in Your Word that every idle word that comes out of our mouths will be judged. Help me to speak life and not death, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
*Gen 3:6-7; Prov 18:20-21; 26:18-19; Matt 12:33-37